Wednesday, October 6, 2010

MASHIB HARUACH, praising God for rain

28th of Tishri, 5771

The Mishna explains that in Rosh haShana God Almighty examines our deeds and determines, based on our merits, if we deserve another year of life. We have a window of opportunity from Rosh haShana to Yom Kippur to admit our mistakes and appeal an eventual negative decree, confessing, asking for forgiveness, etc. At the time of the Neila, the decree is sealed and our fate in that specific area, determined.

In Sukkot, our rabbis explain, nidonim al hamaim, our livelihood is determined. In other words, assuming we were granted good health to make it to the next year (notice that we ask God to live: 'one year at a time') the question remains:will we be granted the means to maintain a life of dignity?

The KEY word used to request a dignified livelihood is 'rain'.

Man can work the land, saw the seeds and watch his field, but ultimately ,it is the rain what will determine the successof the harvest. Rain is the most elemental requirement for nutrition and Parnasa livelihood.

At the end of Sukkot, from the Musaf prayer of Shemini Atzeret we change the words Morid haTal ((You) make the dew descend) for "Mashib haRuach uMorid haGeshem,"

" You make the wind blow, and the rain descend."

It is important to notice that at this specific point we are not actually askingfor rain yet. As we explained yesterday, during the first three blessing of the Amida we don't ask God for our needs, we praise Him for His power and kindness. When saying Mashib haRuach we are acknowledging (not asking to!) God as the source of rain, and by extension, the ultimate source of our Parnasa.

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC 130 Steamboat Rd. Great Neck NY 11024